Darat al Funun PhD Fellow Elizabeth Rauh, University of Michigan, will give her first talk, titled: The Poetics of Absence: Walid Raad’s "Préface à la première edition" and the Louvre’s Islamic Art Collection.
In early 2013 Walid Raad produced three interrelated works—a sculptural installation, a video, and a book—in response to the reopening of the Louvre’s Islamic art galleries. The museum exhibition was part of the artist’s ongoing project, A History of Art in the Arab World. Exploring the recent upsurge of activity and interest in visual arts of the Arab world, Raad used both the presence and absence of historic objects in the museum’s collection in order to question the historical narratives framing the Louvre’s Islamic art works.
The resulting Préface à la première édition exhibition is a series of visual meditations in varying media that contend with notions of absence, both materially and immaterially, on objects, museums, art historical narratives, and traditions. Altogether, by imagining a larger museum project and historic narrative that does not in fact exist, Raad’s work opens up a discursive space that challenges fixed notions of objects and memory.